Get your sales teams ahead of the curve with alternative power

Alternative forms of fuel for cars are all over the news currently. The Queen’s Speech talked about charging points, the press got excited about the ban on new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040, and scrappage is the word on every manufacturers’ lips.

Alternative fuel: governments want it, manufacturers are on to it, and the public seem to like the idea.

But what about your sales teams? Are they eager to sell EVs and hybrids or are they reluctant? Are some positively against the idea?

At RTS Group, we did some mystery shopping at dealerships and found that with the obvious exception of Tesla, sales execs simply weren’t on the ball when it came to encouraging customers to buy

A member of our team posed as someone starting a new job with a car allowance, who was interested in EVs and hybrids. The issues he found were:

  • Lack of knowledge about EVs and hybrids, and leading on from this lack of confidence in talking about the vehicles
  • Lack of marketing at dealerships
  • Lack of effort in qualifying our customer as being suited to an EV

In one extreme example, a sales exec – clearly wanting to shift stock at the end of the month - pushed our colleague towards a 2litre diesel.

Our mystery shop wasn’t exhaustive, but it does give a snapshot of the issues at car retailers, whose sales execs are clearly not properly equipped to sell vehicles with alternative power, or being made equipped and given support with selling them.

So with time running out for diesel and petrol models, what can retailers do to help their sales teams?

At RTS Group, we’ve been running learning and development programmes for retailers in how to sell EVs for years. In fact, we are pretty confident in saying that, as a business, we have trained more staff to sell EVs than anyone else.

So as experts in our field, here are our top tips for you and your sales teams to get on the front foot:

  1. Raise you own awareness. Start reading the positive press reports of electric/hybrid
  2. Initiate discussions with your peers on the topic. This is a safe environment to learn and develop
  3. Research your own brands: what are they doing, what’s next? Consider how you can discuss the benefits to customers. Importantly, customers want to know, “what’s in it for me?”
  4. Use your knowledge to counter challenges with objection handling. Recognise this as part of the learning process and reflect on what went well and what could be improved next time.
  5. Give yourself a timeframe, so you don’t fall behind
  6. Embrace this change, don’t get left behind - the future is tomorrow.
  7. Approach your dealership or organisation for personal development in this area. They should be impressed that you’re being proactive and interested.

A change is happening and ignoring it is not an option. We believe dealership teams should get up to speed before they are on the losing side of the argument.


Malcolm is RTS Group’s Managing Director so he oversees everything in the company and spends a large proportion of his time on new business development. He joined us initially as an associate, setting up the Mazda Academy, and became MD in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry.

Malcolm’s background is as a freelance trainer, largely in the automotive sector but also within the finance industry. His first ever job was as a paperboy – he delivered 40 papers a day from 6am, and was paid double on a Sunday because of the weight he had to carry!

He admits he has a somewhat untidy desk and should probably get the coffees in a bit more often, but his good humour and go-getting approach means the team let him off. In his spare time, Malcolm is a rugby referee travelling across the south of England, and he has three grown-up children. Malcolm describes himself as “curious” which makes him the perfect person to explore new opportunities for RTS Group.